ORIGINAL FICTION: "The Man Who Would Not Be King" (Part 8 - Conclusion)

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PLEASE NOTE: This is the conclusion to the story. Part 1 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... and part 2 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-%E2%80%9C-man-who-wou... part 3 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-%E2%80%9C-man-who-wou... part 4 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... part 5 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... part 6 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... and part 7 is here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... .
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Aaron woke in a hospital room, with Roy Orbison, John Lennon, and Burt Reynolds sitting around staring at him. It was a bit disconcerting. Worse still, Orbison and Reynolds weren’t even paying attention to him, they were in the corner engrossed in a discussion about something called “Laminar Flow.” Lennon was reading a book.

He tried to say something funny, like “That was undeniably the worst concert I’ve ever been to,” but all he was able to do was cough a bit. Lennon called the nurses, who fussed over him for some time. Then a doctor came in and fussed over him for a bit longer, but they already knew he’d be fine or they wouldn’t have let guests in, even ones as prestigious as these. After all the preamble was out of the way, they inclined his bed somewhat so he could see the others eye to eye, and then left him to talk to his new friends.

“So what the hell happened?” Aaron asked.

“You took a bullet for the president, you foiled an assassination attempt, you’re a national hero,” Burt said.

“Women may even come to find you attractive,” Lennon said. Aaron laughed at that, but instantly regretted it. His sides hurt badly from the surgery.

“Yeah, but what was it all about…who was that guy?”

Evans came in, as if on cue, “His name was ‘Dick Smothers,’ Boss. He had his CP-USA card on him when West took him down.”

“Wait, he took his Communist Party ID with him to an assassination attempt? That seems uncommonly stupid,” Orbison said.

“We don’t think he was planning on escaping, Roy,” Evans replied, “But we don’t know much more than that. He died about an hour ago without ever recovering consciousness.”

“Wait - Smothers? His name was Smothers?” Aaron asked.

“Way ahead of you, Boss,” Evans said, “His brother Tom Smothers was the head of Boeing security. They must have planned this all out years in advance.”

“Which explains why he refused to lock down the base,” Said Aaron. Perhaps it was just the painkillers or the shock, but he felt strangely calm. A little too calm, he thought absently. ‘I’ll have to keep an eye on that. I seem to like drugs a little bit too much.’

“I never did like that little prick,” said Burt.

“Did we get him?” Aaron asked.

“No, but I doubt he can hide long. We’ll get him. Or the Secret Service will. Boeing is horribly red-faced over all this, as you can imagine. The rumor is, after Nixon pins a medal on you, they’re going to offer you the head-of-security gig for the Aerospaceport.”

“Really?” Drugs or no drugs, he felt…accomplished. Like he’d done something that mattered. He looked at the luminaries in the room. They all liked him, they accepted him even though he clearly wasn’t on their level of success. Or was he? He did just save the president, after all. And suddenly it didn’t seem to matter so much any more. The dreams of his youth suddenly seemed pale and stupid compared to the deep and ominous colors of actual history, now that he’d actually done something worth doing.

“I dunno, but it’s up in the air,” Ron said, “They’re definitely talking about it. I‘d say you‘d found your calling, Boss. ”

“Not bad for a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi,” he said to no one in particular.
‘no,’ he thought happily, ‘this is not a bad way to spend one’s life after all’

And he lived - honest to God - happily ever after. Much happier than he could have any other way.

THE END

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